Dr Susan Deacy

Dr Susan Deacy

Principal Lecturer

Department of Humanities


I am a classicist especially interested in the study of Greek gender, sexuality and violence, and ancient Greek religion and mythology. I have an ever-growing interest in disability studies, including autism and classical mythology. Stimulated in large part by a Choice of Hercules chimneypiece at Roehampton, I am tentatively making forays into Georgian classical receptions. When Classics Confidential came to the University last year, they interviewed me about this interest here.

I am happy to supervise PhD projects on aspects of ancient Greek culture and its postclassical reception, especially in the areas of religion, mythology, disability, gender and violence. I would be particularly keen to work with doctoral students on projects relating to sexual or gender violence, and on projects addressing the question that Simonides thought he would be able to answer within a day: 'what is a god?'.

Current projects include: a co-authored book, with Fiona McHardy (Gendered violence in ancient Greece, contracted to Bloomsbury), a book using Athena to frame a study of various paradigms for the study of Greek myth (A Traitor to her sex? Athena the trickster, contracted to Oxford University Press) and a textbook on classical mythology (contracted to Routledge). I am the Series Editor of Gods and Heroes of the Ancient World and author of Athena for this series. I am currently planning events to mark the 20th anniversary of Rape in Antiquity which I co-edited with Karen Pierce in 1997.

I am the author of a guide to embedding equality and diversity for classics practitioners, published in May 2015 by HEA Scotland.

I am the editor of the Bulletin of the Council for University Classics Departments, the forum for raising, reflecting on and debating issues of academic and professional significance for all UK classics teachers: http://cucd.blogs.sas.ac.uk/bulletin/

I am an active blogger. I am currently developing a 'general' site: http://end-of-classics.weebly.com/ I've blogged on autism and classical mythology since 2009 and after that developed who 'owns' classical mythology and http://athenatrickster.blogspot.co.uk/ The blog authored by myself and Dr McHardy disseminating research for the sensitive subjects project will go live soon.

I was appointed Lecturer in Ancient Greek History and Literature at Roehampton in 2005, was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2007 and became Principal Lecturer in 2011. In 2010/11 I was Käthe-Leichter-Gastprofessorin für Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung at the University of Vienna. Before coming to Roehampton, I taught at the Universities of Wales, Keele, Leeds and Manchester.

Recent and upcoming papers/lectures include:

Gender violence:

April 2013, Dublin: "Killing pregnant women: ancient Greek uxoricide in comparative perspective", UCD Classical Society Inaugural Lecture

Sept 2013, Aberystwyth: "Military values, masculine ethics and wartime rape", with F. McHardy, International Ancient Warfare Conference 2013

February 2014, Lisbon: "Ancient Greek sexual violence in comparative perspective", A Violência no Mundo Antigo e Medieval

May 2014, Gdansk: "Impiety, xoana and the hubris of Oilean Ajax ", The Religious Aspects of War

March 2015, Leuven: "Evolutionary psychology, the classics and the study of rape, Psychology and the Classics: A Dialogue of Disciplines https://www.arts.kuleuven.be/conference/psycl

May 2015, Coimbra: "The myth instinct: Athena, Hephaistos and the evolution of divine desire." Congresso Internacional de História da Antiguidade Clássica2015

Mythology/18th-century reception of antiquity:

June 2013, Leeds: "Virtue and Vice in the Adam Room, Grove House", Hercules: A Hero for All Ages

February 2014, Cambridge: "'Nothing like Roehampton...': Hercules and the Englishing of Greek myth"


April 2013, Reading: "How to teach sensitive subjects in the classical classroom", with Fiona McHardy, Panel: teaching classics, Classical Association conference (go to p. 13 of abstracts). An updated version of this paper was delivered the 2013 HEA Teaching History conference.

April 2013, Roehampton: "Feedforward to enhance teaching, assessment and learning in Humanities or 'how does this postmodernist rubbish apply to my topic'?" - workshop led with Krisztina Robert, University of Roehampton Learning and Teaching Conference. A recast version of this workshop was delivered in Sept. 2013 at the HEA Teaching History conference (see above).

Representative activities over the past few years include the organisation of HEA-funded workshops on inclusivity and diversity (with Fiona McHardy) and neoclassicism (with Alannah Tomkins). With Esther Eidinow and Jason Davies, I launched TLAR: a Teaching and Learning Ancient Religion Network. I have worked for the HEA on various aspects of classical pedagogy including most recently to produce an equality and diversity toolkit for classics practitioners. I created the poster "It's all Greek to me: why every Jack needs a Giant" for last year's HEA Humanities conference on Monstrous Pedagogies.

Recent publications include:

'From "flowery tales" to "heroic rapes": virginal subjectivity in the mythological meadow', Arethusa 46.3 (Fall 2013): 395-413.

'Uxoricide in pregnancy: ancient Greek domestic violence in evolutionary perspective', with Fiona McHardy, Evolutionary Psychology 11.5: 994-1010.

Athena, Oxford Bibliographies (2015).



Research projects undertaken

Membership of professional bodies

Consultancies undertaken

Teaching interests

Taught courses



My list of publications below needs updating: please bear with me!


Athena (Gods and Heroes of the Ancient World series), Routledge 2008. 

A Traitor to her Sex? Athena the Trickster, Oxford University Press forthcoming.

Rape in Antiquity, with K. Pierce, Duckworth/Classical Press of Wales 1997.

Athena in the Classical World, edited by S. Deacy and A. Villing, Brill 2001.

Rape in Antiquity, edited by S. Deacy and K. Pierce, Duckworth 2002 [paperback edition with new preface].

The Impenetrability of Desire: Women's experience of sex and sexuality in ancient Greece, with M. Bachvarova, Cambridge University Press forthcoming.

'Athena in Boiotia: Local tradition and cultural identity', in J. Fossey ed., Boiotia Antiqua V. Studies on Boiotian Topography, Cults and Terracottas, Gieben 1995, 91-103.

'The Vulnerability of Athena: Parthenoi and rape in Greek myth', in S. Deacy and K. Pierce ed., Rape in Antiquity, Duckworth/Classical Press of Wales 1997, 43-63.

'Athena and the Amazons: Mortal and immortal femininity in Greek myth', in A. Lloyd ed., What is a God? Studies in the Nature of Greek Divinity, Duckworth/Classical Press of Wales 1997, 153-68.

'Athena and Ares: War, violence, and warlike deities', in H. van Wees ed., War and Violence in Ancient Greece, Duckworth/Classical Press of Wales 2000, 285-98.

 'Athena Past and Present: An introduction', with A. Villing, in S. Deacy and A. Villing, ed., Athena in the Classical World, Brill 2001, 1-25.

'Preface to the paperback edition', with K. Pierce, in Rape in Antiquity, Duckworth 2002, vii-xiv. 

'Athena Blues: Athena and colour in Ancient Greek myth and art', with A. Villing, in L. Cleland and K. Stears ed., Colour in the Ancient Mediterranean World, BAR International Series 1267 (2004), 85-90

'Herakles and his "girl": Heroism, Athena and beyond', in L. Rawlings, ed. Herakles and Hercules: Exploring a Graeco-Roman Divinity, Classical Press of Wales 2005, 37-50. 
'Series Editor's Foreword', to appear in each volume of the Gods and Heroes of the Ancient World series, 2005- (Volumes already published: Zeus, Medea, Prometheus, Dionysos, Oedipus; Athena, Perseus).

'Introduction: desire or rape?', in The Impenetrability of Desire: Women's experience of sex and sexuality in ancient Greece, Cambridge University Press forthcoming. 

''A flowery tale': Young women and heroic rape', in S. Deacy and M. Bachvarova, ed., The Impenetrability of Desire: Women's experience of sex and sexuality in ancient Greece, Cambridge University Press forthcoming.

'Famous Athens, Divine Polis: The religious system in Athens', in D. Ogden ed., Companion to Greek Religion, Blackwell 2007, 221-35.

'What was the colour of Athena's aegis?' with A. Villing, Journal of Hellenic Studies forthcoming 2009


D. Gera, Warrior Women. The Anonymous Tractatus De Mulieribus, Classical Review 50.1 (2000), 352-3 

M. Gimbutas, The Living Goddesses, Classical Review 50.2 (2000), 617-8 

E. Stafford, Worshipping Virtues: Personification and the Divine in Ancient Greece, JACT Review 33 (Summer 2003), 28 

L. Doherty, Gender and the Interpretation of Classical Myth, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2003.08.02

N. Loraux, Born of Earth: Myth and Politics in Athens, Classical Bulletin forthcoming 

L. Llewellyn-Jones (ed.), Women's Dress in the Ancient Greek World, JACT Review, 2004

R. Rosenzweig, Worshipping Aphrodite, JACT Review 2005 

R. Rosenzweig, Worshipping Aphrodite: Art and Cult in Classical Athens, Classical Rewiew 57.1 (2007), 214-5 

S. Price and E. Kearns (ed), The Oxford Dictionary of Classical Myth and Religion, Bryn Mawr Review forthcoming 

J.B. Connelly, Portrait of a Priestess, Journal of Hellenic Studies forthcoming 2008

M. Munn. The Mother of the Gods, Athens and the Tyranny of Asia: A Study of Sovereignty in Ancient Religion, Hermathena forthcoming

H. Morales, Classical Mythology: A very short introduction, Classical Review forthcoming.

R.D. Woodford (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Greek Mythology, Classical Review forthcoming.

Anthropomorphism . IV. Greco-Roman Antiquity' (470 words) in Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (EBR), Walter de Gruyter (2008–2017

 'Athena' (2380 words) in Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (EBR), Walter de Gruyter (2008–2017)

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